Sristhi and Leif’s recent Indian American fusion wedding at The Winery at Bull Run was one of the sweetest and most touching we’ve had the honor to photograph. We realize that might sound like hyperbole. But their marriage celebrations had so many beautiful elements that it was an inescapable conclusion. For starters, their love story was romantic in an old-fashioned sort of way. The couple has been together since their sophomore year in high school, which you don’t see much anymore. Then there were the COVID-related hurdles Srishti and Leif had to get past to have their wedding. Their winding path to the altar made everyone present celebrate their nuptials with just a little more passion. Finally, the venue they picked was the perfect setting for their marriage celebration. The bucolic but understated beauty of the rolling hills around The Winery at Bull Run enhanced the loveliness of their celebrations without overshadowing them.
Relaxed Wedding Preparations at the Sonesta ES Suites Fairfax
The bride and groom’s day started at an executive hotel not far from their wedding venue. Each got ready at the Sonesta ES Suites Fairfax in the company of their closest family and friends. Srishti’s mom, aunt and bridesmaids helped into the exquisitely embroidered lehenga she had chosen for her wedding day. In a neat and fun touch, her bridesmaids wore matching lehengas they all ordered from the same supplier in India through Etsy. Pairing bindis with said lehengas might normally have been a challenge, but Srishti’s mom came prepared. When the time came to place them on everyone’s foreheads, she unveiled a surprisingly wide array of options she had bought from India and Amazon. The entire atmosphere in the hotel room was fun and relaxed. Thanks to her bridesmaids’ calming presence, Srishti was able to enjoy that part of her wedding day without any stress or nervousness.
The getting-ready process for Leif was similarly lighthearted throughout. He and his groomsmen cracked lots of jokes (and a few beers) as they got into their suits and ties. The group humorously calculated the odds that they’d be drunk-dialing their significant others later in the day. Later, the groomsmen teased Leif about choosing a White Claw seltzer to calm his pre-wedding nerves. They also laughed when the groom’s struggles to get his tie length right resulted in way too many pictures of that process. The highlight of that part of the day, though, was the tequila shot that the groom and groomsmen shared before walking out the door. It showed (in a fittingly lighthearted way) that underneath the laughter and horsing around ran a current of love and support for Leif and the step he was taking.
Touching First Look Before a Wedding at The Winery at Bull Run
Once everyone was ready, the wedding party departed the hotel for The Winery at Bull Run. The next part of Srishti and Leif’s day started with a very tender first look. The couple had initially been unsure about adding it to their schedule. Once they experienced the joy of seeing each other in their wedding clothes, though, they knew that they had made the right choice. It was the perfect start to their wedding at The Winery at Bull Run!
Indian American Fusion Wedding Ceremony at a Northern Virginia Vineyard
The couple and their guests then moved to the location of their Indian American fusion wedding ceremony. And what a glorious site it was! One of the best things about a wedding at The Winery at Bull Run is the possibility of tying the knot on top of some gorgeous stone ruins near the vineyard’s entrance. Not only is the spot extraordinarily lovely, it also creates cool angles for your wedding photographers. Which allows them to create really magical pictures of you exchanging your vows!
As we alluded to above, Sristhi and Leif’s wedding ceremony fused elements of Indian and American wedding customs. Nods to the bride’s Indian heritage included blessings by and gifts from her parents, aunt and uncle; the couple circling a sacred tulsi plant seven times; and the bride’s sister and Leif placing bits of sindoor in Sristhi’s hair. Woven seamlessly with those Indian customs were Western traditions like an exchange of rings and a first kiss. The whole event felt natural, and everything fit together perfectly. Just like the lovely couple!
We admit to having a soft spot for fusion weddings. Our own marriage celebrations blended customs from our different cultures. But we can say quite objectively that the sweetness of Sristhi and Leif’s ceremony really set it apart from other weddings. Perhaps it was the way the groom gently wiped a tear from his new wife’s eye. Or maybe it was the joy in the couple’s faces when they cheered while leaving the ruins. It could have been the tenderness with which Srishti’s elderly grandmother kissed Leif’s forehead after the ceremony. Or the excitement with which the bride’s relatives in India congratulated the newlyweds via Zoom. In reality, it was probably all of them combined that made this fusion wedding ceremony unforgettable.
The Winery at Bull Run Wedding Photos? Absolutely Stunning!
Following the ceremony and some family formal pictures, we took the couple off for their wedding portraits. And as gorgeous a spot as the stone ruins were for a ceremony, the surrounding pastoral areas at The Winery at Bull Run were just as great for beautiful photos. For example, just through a quaint wooden fence and down a hill is a lovely grove of trees next to a peaceful pond. The branches and leaves were ideal for softening the harsh midday sun, so we brought Srishti and Leif down there for their portraits.
We started by getting some pictures of the two of them dancing amid the trees. Srishti looked so graceful as Leif twirled her through the streaks of light illuminating the grass. And there was such tenderness in the way her new husband kissed her after gently dipping her. Then we had the couple cuddle up with one another so that we could get some closeup shots of them.
Afterwards, we brought them back up the hill. Not to the main winery, but instead to a ridge near one of the plots where grapevines grow. We could see that the bright green of the grass and the deep blue of the summer sky formed a stunning canvas. We had Srishti and Leif walk back and forth along the ridge and captured creative shots of them against that gorgeous backdrop. Then we asked them to face away from us so we could take a picture of them contemplating the majesty of the sky above them. Finally, we joined them at the top of the hill and got some photos of them with rows of vines trailing off into the distance behind them.
Fun and Games (and Wine!) to Conclude a Lovely Northern Virginia Winery Wedding
The last part of Srishti and Leif’s day was a casual “reception” in a private outdoor area near the back of The Winery at Bull Run. Though informal, the event was just as meaningful as the rest of the couple’s marriage celebrations. It started with the newlyweds entering the space to raucous cheers and applause from their guests. It then segued into a series of toasts that allowed everyone to sample the vineyard’s great selection of wines. The speech that Leif’s brother and sister gave was hilarious. Srishti’s parents offered words that brought tears to the bride’s eyes. The groom’s father started with some funny anecdotes about his son but was soon overcome with emotion. The bride’s best friend’s toast was touching. And her sister stole the show with an unexpected a capella version of “Moves Like Jagger” that got everyone dancing.
Immediately following the toasts was the cutting of the cake. This was no ordinary ritual, though. As Srishti and Leif told us before their wedding, they had spent a lot of time picking out the perfect cake. They had raved many times about how good it tasted, so we made sure to get lots of good shots of them cutting into it and serving it to each other. The couple was kind enough to offer us a piece as well. And we can confirm that yes, it was delicious!
Srishti and Leif’s Northern Virginia winery wedding ended on a playful note. The bride’s mother led the couple in a series of games that left everyone laughing. The most memorable was one in which the newlyweds competed to find their rings in a platter of water covered with cut flowers. It was the perfect finish to a great day and a lovely marriage celebration!
Photography: Potok’s World Photography
Make-up and hair: Makeup by Mala
Bridal dress: Mohar
Venue: The Winery at Bull Run
Cake artist: Wanda Cakes
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